Thought Leadership Articles

    What Does Agile Mean in Your Organisation?

    Feb 1, 2024 | Posted by Quentin Orsmond

    As a change management practitioner and consultant, I was invited to attend a meeting by a large financial service organisation. The purpose was to talk to them about change management and agile.  A one hour meeting was scheduled, and my expectation was to give them some insight on how to do change management on a project, that is following the Agile development methodology.

    Attending the meeting were three stakeholders from the organisation representing the Project Management Office (PMO), Change Management (CM) and Human Resource (HR).

    The meeting kicked off with introductions and they advised that they were looking at agile and wanted to know how this aligns with the application of change management.

    Before I answered their question, I asked them three questions:

    1. Do you want to know how to do change management on a project that is following the Agile development methodology?

    2. Do you want to know how to do change management on the role out of Agile as a development methodology in the organisation?

    3. Do you want to know how to build a change agile organisation?

    Download: Change Management and Agile Executive Summary

    CM and Agile-1

    That took about the first five minutes of the one hour scheduled for the discussion. The next 55 minutes of the meeting revolved around the three of them trying to come to a common understanding about the context of agile in their organisation. I sat back and listened to the discussing with them trying to come to some agreement about what they were actually talking about and what the context of the discussion was and what they were trying to achieve.

    At the end of the meeting, they had some clarity on what they were talking about. The irony was that due to their respective positions in the organisation, they had different views of what agile was and what it meant for them and what the outcomes were.

    It turns out the organisation was actually embarking on all three journeys.

    1. They were going to roll out Agile as a development methodology.

    2. They were trying to build an organisation that was more change agile.

    3. They know they needed change management to make it successful.

    With that in mind I mentioned a few thoughts around the change management and what they need to consider from that perspective.

    1. Building organisational agility is a change and needs to be managed like a change. You need to build some change maturity in the organisation, and you will need to do this with structure and intent. You will need a change management plan for the building of organisational agility. From a Prosci perspective we call this Enterprise Change Management (ECM)

    2. Rolling out the Agile methodology is also a change and needs a change management plan that will support it achieve its objectives. Use the 3-Phase Prosci methodology to achieve this.

    3. Doing change management on a project following the Agile methodology is slightly different. According to Prosci research and the best practices in change management, you need to consider the following:

      1. Adjust the change management approach to be flexible. Look to build knowledge and ability for each of the sprints

      2. Define roles and collaborate

      3. Emphasis communication and training

    Prosci has done significant research over the last 20 years and have released a study which highlight the findings as it relates to integrating Agile. Download here.

    Need help balancing your change management practice with your Agile organisation? Attend one of our upcoming public, open-enrolment, one-day workshopsand discover how to best integrate the two disciplines.


    Topics: agile, change management


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